The Council of Ministers has agreed to change the name of the Ministry of Industry and Handicraft to the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation.
The approval follows a request from Minister of Industry and Handicraft Cham Prasidh.
Council of Ministers secretary of state Khoy Khun Huor signed a letter over the approval and sent it to Prasidh on Friday.
The letter said the name change was approved and that the government will now amend laws and legal documents related to the functioning of the new ministry.
The government also agreed to create two new units, the General Department of Science, Technology and Innovation, and the National Institute of Science, Technology and Innovation, within the ministry. The units will operate within existing frameworks.
The government has instructed the new ministry to support and make it possible for the new units to meet practical needs of relevant institutions so the sectors of scientific and technological research and innovation will improve within the context of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
The government has already led an inter-ministerial meeting with other relevant ministries to prepare draft laws on the organisation and the functioning of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation. These drafts will then be sent to the Council of Ministers.
The Ministry of Industry and Handicraft also must prepare and draw up draft laws to submit them to the National Assembly and the Senate, as well as draft sub-decrees, on the functioning of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation.
Ministry of Industry and Handicraft spokesman Um Sotha said changing the name of the ministry aimed to encourage scientists and experts on technologies to take part in developing the economy.
He noted that the ministry must catch up with global technologies, which advance day after day.
“In the face of this, we don’t have plans to recruit more officials. We are calling for the participation of officials from different ministries. We encourage those who have creative ideas related to technologies to work with the new units,” he said.
Affiliated Network for Social Accountability executive director San Chey said the name change was not interesting because the ministry was once branched off from the Ministry of Industry, Mines and Energy.
But he added he is interested in the leadership process and work performance, along with how active, transparent and efficient the new units will be going forward.
“Despite changing the name of the ministry or amending a particular name of the ministry, the officials there and their processes are not able to efficiently contribute to solving problems for the people. We hope that there is progress,” he said.